OTFC IIIs finally come up trumps in a fitting farewell for Tiffs veteran Forest, whose 13th season came to an abrupt end with dollar signs in his eyes.
It’s been a frustrating 2017 for the 3s, with results perhaps not reflecting performances, meaning not a single point has been won. Despite this, the team always have turned up for games with plenty of enthusiasm, as was the case against an always difficult Old Paulines.
The 3s started the brighter of the two sides with lots of youthful energy and pace in the attack from Mo…and Forest. This persistence eventually paid off with the 3s taking a deserved lead courtesy of loanee (not for long) Bernard Knuchel-Takano.
The 3s did well to contain Old Paulines for much of the game, but eventually they got their equaliser after a defensive mishap from the otherwise solid Ed Whitehouse led to the Paulines striker slotting it past a helpless Matt Hurst.
1-1 seemed fair at half time, Tiffs were doing well keeping Paulines’ tricky numbers 6 and 7 away from goal. We were keeping hold of the ball nicely, and getting the ball in to excellent positions higher up the pitch.
The 3s came agonisingly close in the early stages of the second half. A beauty of a pass (editor’s note: Alonso-esque) from Joe Yates put Tiffs through on goal, but sadly, the shot went inches wide.
Following that, a disallowed goal, after a goal mouth scramble in which the 3s’ valuable, though incorrectly kitted (editor’s note: literally every game) winger Stuart Breck was judged to have kicked the ball from the Pauline goalkeeper’s hands. Difficult to see from distance, but it looked like the ref (you know who) got the decision wrong. Always tricky to tell when in your 80s and from the centre circle.
After some more promising play from the 3s in the 2nd half, there was a horrible sense of deja-vu after a speculative long range effort from Old Pauline’s trickled its way into the back of the net underneath Hurst. It was a blow, but it was Paulines’ second shot on target. Tiffs had created far better chances and looked to be the fitter of the two sides (shockingly!).
Then came the game’s pivotal moment with a corner in the closing stages of the match. Step up Dan Hogg who snuck in at the back post to calmly volley home a great cross from Bernard with two minutes left. Oh, the drama of a local derby!
It wasn’t to be a fairytale ending for Matt Power (aka Forest), who scuffed two opportunities late on, including a wild free kick in a good position in the dying seconds. After serving many years for OTFC, Forest will be truly missed as yet another promising(ish) young(ish) footballer is tempted away by the Chinese Super League for the big money!
Thanks to those from the 4s who stepped in for the 3s.
On balance, a great performance by the 3s, dare I say perhaps a tad unlucky not to come away with all three points. Overall the 3s will be pleased to record their first point of 2017 with plenty of positives to build on for the Dorking game next week.
GG will be pleased that he’s saved himself £40 for another season, as Forest was unable to score the much needed four goals.
MOTM deservedly went to Forest, with mentions for Hogg, Reynaud, Harris and Whitehouse.